Cutting Bowl blanks from logs

In this post we we will cover how to cut bowl blanks from logs. We we get in depth on cutting bowl blanks with a chainsaw.

There is nothing better than turning bowls from green wood. If you learn how to prepare your own bowl blanks you won’t have to rely on store-bought wood.

How to make woodturning blanks from a log

We are going to prepare these bowl blanks with a chainsaw. In the final part, you can use a bandsaw to get the final shape or finish it with a chainsaw also. After you do all of this you’re going to want to learn how to dry green wood bowl blanks.

You will be able to cut bowl blanks without a bandsaw!

Sharpen your chainsaw

This by far is one of the most important steps. You want the chainsaw to cut the wood effortlessly.

This is also important when we are ripping the wood. You do not what your chainsaw to struggle with the log shavings that it can create when your ripping.

Prepare the log for cutting

You want to cut the log to length. This is going to be the width of the bowl. If you’re going to use a chainsaw to make the final round blank then you want to leave some extra.

One thing to consider is that you will only get a bowl as big as the width of the log.

So if your trying to get the biggest bowl possible then go ahead and make the length an inch or so bigger than the width of the log.

After you have your blank, try bowl coring to get the most out of your wood.

Plan the blanks on the log

marked log for bowl blanks

I like to mark out my blanks on the log. As you do this for sometime you might not need to. One good thing about this is that you have a line to follow.

The carpenter crayon is a great way to see the line really well.

I like to mark the pith of the log. You want to avoid this area at all costs. Keeping a buffer of at least 2″ around it is a good idea. You can also follow the cracking that is already visible.

It is a good idea to check both side if the log for the pith. It could be going in one direction and effect the bowl blanks.

Looking at it will give you the best plan of attack to get the most blanks that you can.

Rip the log

ripped log into bowl blanks

There is something satisfying with ripping the log, not sure what it is. I like to cut on both sides of the log before I do the final rips into blanks.

Cutting the sides gives a location for a faceplate or your worm screw that you use with a chuck.

Now that you have the sides cut go ahead and rip down the lines that you have drawn on the side of the log.

I like to all the rips almost to the bottom and then finish the cut them at the same time so that the log doesn’t fall apart as I rip the other blanks.

Draw out the bowl blank

Now it is a simple task of making your circles. I am demonstrating with a round saw blade but you can make you own templates for this.

The smallest length on the block that you cut will be the size that your bowl is going to be.

Find the center of the log

marking center of cut blank

Just measure the width and divide by two and mark the center. Go ahead and do this for the other direction. This does not have to be perfect this is just roughing out the blank.

Draw the circle

drawing a circle on the bowl blank

Use whatever you have that is round. If you don’t have the actual size to maximize your bowl then just measure out past the circle you have in a few places and then connect the lines.

Again this does not need to be perfect. If you have a bandsaw then you can do this very easily and won’t have to mess with a chainsaw like in the next step.

Cut of the nubs of the bowl blank

cutting nubs off the bowl

Now you just want to trim off the edges to make it a bit more balanced on your lathe.

You really want to focus on having the blank stable when you make these cuts with your chainsaw.

I make my cuts strait down and not at an angle. I feel these cuts are the most dangerous and I dont mess around with them.

Now you have some wood bowl blanks that you can go ahead and turns some green bowls. Enjoy my friends!

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